BREAKING: Concerned Residents Mic-Check Rigged Congressional Hearing on Fracking

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 27, 2012
CONTACT: Annie Lukins, Jonathan Sidney; (216) 586-4890; ohiofracktion@gmail.com

Concerned Residents Mic-Check Rigged Congressional Hearing on Fracking
Show $3M Connection Between Campaign Contributions and Favors to Big Oil

STEUBENVILLE, OH – A dozen anti-fracking Ohio and Pennsylvania residents were escorted from today’s congressional field hearing on natural gas after interrupting the proceedings and attempting to present members of the committee with a $3 million check representing the money spent by industry just on members of one congressional subcommittee.

Held by the Congressional Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, today’s event was the latest in a series of field hearings designed to promote hydraulic fracturing (a.k.a. “fracking”) as a solution to the economic and energy crises.  Also in Steubenville only weeks ago Ohio Governor John Kasich held his State of the State address where he lauded the fracking industry and was met with protests and a ‘mic-check’ that disrupted the speech.

“What we witnessed today was the best Congressional field hearing that oil and gas money can buy.” -Diana Ludwig

Residents pointed out that Chairman Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Glenn Thompson (R-PA), and Bill Johnson (R-OH), have collectively received a total of at least $267,084 in campaign contributions from oil and gas corporations and therefore clearly have a conflict of interest that makes them unfit for reviewing the human health, environmental, and economic impacts of fracking.[1]

Although not invited to testify, residents handed out pamphlets containing testimony regarding fracking’s environmental devastation, as well as the Subcommittee’s history of taking donations from the oil and gas industry, amounting to a sum of approximately $3 million split between 18 members of the Subcommittee.  This is part of the $747 million spent by the industry for fracking as part of a 10-year lobbying campaign to persuade federal authorities to ignore the dangers of fracking as reported by Common Cause in their report “Deep Drilling, Deep Pockets.

Lamborn, Thompson, and Johnson repeatedly claimed that fracking has never been linked to a proven case of groundwater contamination, each time eliciting laughter from audience members who replied by shouting: “tell that to Dimock,” referring to the Pennsylvania town notorious for its fracking-contaminated water.

During Ohio Oil and Gas Association executive vice president Tom Stewart’s testimony, a resident of Youngstown, OH and professor of geology Susie Beiersdorfer led the dissidents in a mic-check: “Members of the Subcommittee have received $3 million from the oil and gas industry.  That is why Congress lets fracking poison our water and land.”

The protesters then attempted to present a giant check for $3 million from the “Ohio Water Drinkers Association” and were forcibly removed by security, shouting “We can’t drink money” and “We will not be bought” as they left the room.  Afterward, protesters held an impromptu press conference immediately outside of the building.

Diana Ludwig of Youngstown, OH, told reporters: “What we witnessed today was the best Congressional field hearing that oil and gas money can buy.  They say fracking is safe, but the benzene is in the ground and they can’t take it out.”

[1] Citations for all campaign contribution data found at

https://ohiofracktion.wordpress.com/2012/02/26/frackmoney/
http://www.commoncause.org/site/pp.asp?c=dkLNK1MQIwG&b=7868571

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Call to Action! Rigged Congressional Field Hearing Tomorrow in Steubenville

Mark your calenders for another dog and pony show sponsored by the oil and gas corporations. Tomorrow morning in Steubenville, the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources is holding an “oversight field hearing” on the resplendent virtues of hydraulic fracturing. The field hearing, titled “Natural Gas—America’s New Energy Opportunity: Creating Jobs, Energy and Community Growth”, will feature 11 witnesses “by invitation only.”

If anyone has any question as to the merit or intentions of the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, they can peruse the records of contributions that these members of congress have received from the oil and gas industries. Collectively, the 26 members of the subcommittee have received at least $2,999,016 dollars from oil and gas companies. Dan Boren holds the record, with a 10 year history of $328,300 in contributions, and a total of $696,940 in contributions throughout his lengthy political career. Continue reading

Oil & Gas Industry Leases House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources

18 out of 26 House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources members have received a total of at least $2,999,016 in campaign contributions from the oil & gas industry

This represents an average contribution of $115,346 to each Subcommittee member if all 26 are included, or an average contribution of $166,612 to each of the 18 members who have received donations.

11 out of 26 Subcommittee members have received contributions totaling over $100,000 from the oil & gas industry.

Full list of House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources members  who have taken contributions from the oil & gas industry (including total amount of contributions received):   Continue reading

ALERT: ODNR May Soon Lift Injection Well Moratorium

The Ohio Division of Natural Resources (ODNR) has announced that it will soon release its report on the series of 12 earthquakes that the U.S. Geological Survey has determined were caused by a toxic fracking wastewater injection well in Youngstown, OH.  ODNR, which collected more than $1 million in taxes from wastewater injection between January and September 2011, is likely to lift the temporary moratorium on new injection well permits upon release of this report, affecting at least 13 potential wells in Mahoning, Washington, Portage, Athens, Noble, Muskingum, Trumbull, and Morgan counties.  Stay tuned for more information…

Energy Management Conference Infiltrated by Goons

Concerned Ohio residents crashed today’s Energy Management Conference at the Renaissance Hotel in Columbus, a gathering that included many top players in the race for Midwest and Appalachian fossil fuel.  Dawning goon masks, the residents carried a sign reading “Fracking & Coal Poison Millions. Join the people. Fight back.”

At the bottom of the sign was the web address for the whistleblower site honestappalachia.org, a site designed for individuals to anonymously leak classified information related to the oil and gas and other extractive industries. The two residents entered the conference, displaying the poster and began distributing sheets with information about the site.  They set up next to a table display vending tee shirts that read “GOT GAS?” until forced to leave by hotel security.

Frackers Meet in Columbus!

This Wednesday (that’s tomorrow, or depending on when you read this, today!) the frackers meet at the Renaissance Hotel in Columbus for the 16th Annual “Energy Management Conference.”  The conference agenda includes “Shale Revolution: Ohio & Pennsylvania at the Center of the Natural Gas Universe” as well as presentations by executives from American Electric Power, FirstEnergy, Duke Energy Ohio, and other top players in Ohio’s dirty energy sector.  We’ll be gathering outside the Renaissance (50 North 3rd St. in downtown Columbus) at noon to show our opposition to the fracking of Ohio.  Bring a sign, a friend, and an idea.

From Coitsville to Kent to Mansfield: More Ohio Residents Protest Fracking

Though it’s only February, 2012 is shaping up to be a landmark year for the battle against fracking in Ohio, the Utica and Marcellus shales, the United States, and the rest of the world.  Youngstown’s string of toxic earthquakes and robust movement of community organization and action has helped bring the devastation of fracking to public attention not only locally, but also in national media outlets including CNN and even global sources like al-Jazeera.  The gas industry is increasingly on the defensive thanks to community-led protests that have continued to crop up across Ohio in Coitsville, Kent, Mansfield, Hubbard, Columbus and beyond.  The constant public pressure of Ohio residents is starting to pay off: beyond the New Year’s moratorium on fracking wastewater injection in five wells near Youngstown, the Ohio Division of Natural Resources just announced a temporary hold on approval of any new injection well sites.

Yet in spite of these gains, an enormous amount of work remains to be done.  Over 170 toxic, earthquake-causing wells remain in operation in Ohio, and the Obama administration has recently taken on a stronger public stance in support of expanded fracking operations in the Marcellus Shale and beyond even as the Bulgarian government bans fracking and more evidence of fracking-induced earthquakes crops up everywhere from Texas to England.  Moreover, the industry’s propaganda machine has dialed up its attack on grassroots organizers across the Midwest in recent days, including publishing a personal attack on a Pennsylvania activist in response to his hard work for the movement to Occupy Well Street.

Now more than ever, it is critical that we stand united in the face of industry power.  The frackers will convene this Tuesday and Wednesday in Columbus for the Ohio Energy Management Conference.  If you are interested in meeting up in Columbus this week to stand up to the gas industry, please email ohiofracktion@gmail.com.  We will not be silent and we will not be bought!

Governor Kasich ‘Mic-Checked’ at State of State by outraged anti-fracking protestors

By OhioFracktion

Steubenville, OH  Outside the State of the State address hundreds of Ohioans rallied against Governor Kasich’s false energy solution of hydraulic fracturing, which he has called a ‘godsend’ for the economy and paved the way for.  The rally highlighted the devastating ecological environmental and public health concerns that are already being felt across the state.  Attending were community activists, environmental and labor organizations, and elected officials championing a halt on all fracking. Continue reading